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Mar 31, 2015
This week’s theme
Words related to the names of planets

This week’s words
saturnine
mercurial

mercurial
Cartoon: Mike Flanagan

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

mercurial

PRONUNCIATION:
(muhr-KYOOR-ee-uhl)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Fickle; volatile; changeable.
2. Animated; quick-witted; shrewd.
3. Relating to the metal, planet, or god Mercury.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Mercury, Roman god of commerce, thievery, eloquence, communication, etc. The planet is named after the god and in ancient astrology those born under the supposed influence of Mercury were ascribed his qualities. Earliest documented use: 1300.

USAGE:
“Why is North Korea raising the stakes now, when the world is campaigning to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals? It is difficult to tell, because Pyongyang and its mercurial leader Kim Jong-il act in erratic and contradictory ways.”
Bantarto Bandoro; Nuclear Tension Rises on Divided Korean Peninsula; The Jakarta Post (Indonesia); Jan 18, 2003.

See more usage examples of mercurial in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations. -Leo Buscaglia, author, speaker and professor (31 Mar 1924-1998)

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